Thursday, June 15, 2017

East-West Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Saturday, June 10
Highlands Ranch, CO
Half Marathon #164

I started watching the forecast about a week out and knew that it was going to be an insanely miserable day at the East-West trail race. Due to construction, there was a course change and we would be starting at a different location. Very little of the course would actually be the same, but it was nice that there would be more single track.

Race Day

The half marathon (which I was running) started at 7:30. A and Mo would start at 8:00 for the 10K. We got up around 5:40 and headed out around 6:00. Siri sent me a totally bizarre way to this race. I've always taken C-470, and for whatever reason, she had me driving all over the place. We arrive around 6:45. Packet pick up was easy like usual and then I cycled through the bathroom line. We went back to the car to drop stuff off and apply sunscreen, heading over around 7:15. I thought that would be enough time to go through the bathroom line again, but it wasn't.
I lined up towards the back, knowing that with the course being all uphill the first mile or so, that I would be in the back. I took quite a few walk breaks, having no desire to overexert my self in the first fifteen minutes. About 1.3 miles in we jumped onto the single track trail that we usually run for Chase the Moon.

It was already getting crazy hot, but I tried to enjoy the views the best I could - to take my mind of dying of heat stroke. I was really enjoying the trail itself but my legs felt like lead. It took until I got to the first aid station (which wasn't until 3.5 miles in), when I started to feel a bit better. I could see Kristen ahead of me and desperately wanted to see if I could catch her. I somehow managed to pass her just before mile 5 - and as I told her, that shouldn't happen as she is a much faster/stronger runner than I am. She did say that she was just not feeling it with the heat.

I did manage to pass people in the second half of the course, simply by running when I probably normally would not have. Around mile 11, we turned onto a different section of single track. I had been chasing a woman that I had been in the bathroom line with. She was run/walking ahead of me and just as I almost caught her, she kept going straight on the road and didn't turn onto the single track. I tried yelling at her that she needed to turn off, but she had headphones in and couldn't hear me (or ignored me). So then I spent the next mile concentrating on running as much as I could because I didn't want to be beaten by a course-cutter.

The last mile THANKFULLY was all downhill and I bombed it. I could see the woman in front of me and I manged to catch her maybe a third of a mile before the finish. I was so annoyed I said "you shouldn't run with headphones, you cut the course!" She claimed to have run that section earlier. NO YOU DIDN'T, YOU LIAR. Ugh, at least own it if you were so focused on walking that you missed the turn. But at least she didn't beat me.

I ran into the finish and seriously felt like I was going to pass out immediately after crossing the line. I grabbed a beer, took off my pack and shoes, and went to sit in the shade. Finally, after about 20 minutes I felt better. We spent a long time hanging out at the finish - it's so nice to not have to leave right after races anymore!
Yep, this was my face right after I got my medal
Roost teammates!
ERS ambassadors (Lynette, Tom, Stacy, Me, and honorary A)
A's Time - 1:16:56
Overall Place - 93/135
Gender Place - 52/89
Division Place - 2/2 (The winner was 18)

There were FREE race pics again - a few good ones of A. (Somehow, out of the 904 pictures posted, there are ZERO of me... bummer!)

Official Time - 2:47:45
Elevation Gain - 1322'
Overall Place - 66/91
Gender Place - 39/59
Division Place - 13/21
Garmin Time - 2:47:47
Garmin Distance - 13.12 miles
Garmin Pace - 12:47
Mile 1 - 13:39
Mile 2 - 12:07
Mile 3 - 14:50
Mile 4 - 12:10
Mile 5 - 12:11
Mile 6 - 12:02
Mile 7 - 11:55
Mile 8 - 14:01
Mile 9 - 14:27
Mile 10 - 12:43
Mile 11 - 13:07
Mile 12 - 12:36
Mile 13 - 10:21
Mile 13.12 - 14:03 (very cruel hill in the last tenth!)

  • It was something crazy like 88 degrees when we finished - too hot!! This course is very exposed, so it was pretty brutal. Glad I had my hydration pack! Jeff (race director) has already said that the half will start at 7 next year. Woo hoo!
  • Course was very well marked, yet I was behind people in two different spots that missed turns. Pay attention people!!!
  • The half had four aid stations, although the first one was really far away! Plan ahead and bring what you need. Water, electrolytes and sport beans at all.
  • Finish line party was awesome like always. Plenty of places to sit in the shade (I love you shade) and of course lots of food and beer.
  • Gender specific shirts and cool medals again (although I think I liked last year's compass medal a little better).

Week in Review (June 6 - June 12)

Tuesday (13,772 steps) - Barre.
Wednesday (17,476 steps) - Got out of work about 15 minutes later than planned and promptly ended up in the worst traffic ever, thanks to the Metallica concert and an afternoon Rockies game. A and I were about a half hour late to run club. We went out for a super short (and slow) run - it WAS National Running Day after all!
I was really looking forward to another Trail Sisters event and elite female panel. The event went a lot longer than it was supposed to (although it usually does) and I won another grand prize!! I will be collecting another pair of New Balance trail shoes! So exciting. It was after 10 before we got home.

Junko and A
Winner, again!
Thursday (18,815 steps) - Barre. I struggled more than I did on Tuesday. Seems like recovery from the Dirty 30 will take a while. I could barely get through this one and had to take way more breaks than I usually do. Belmar run club! Did another run/walk with Mo (about a mile of walking, 1.5 miles of running). Went out with the group to Rocko's for food after.
Friday (14,447 steps) - Nothing, other than having dinner on the patio!
Saturday (43,136 steps) - East-West half marathon (recap to follow).
After showering we vegged for a bit before going to out to dinner and then on to the NKOTB concert! Since I work downtown, we opted to save $25 and walk the mile from my lot to the Pepsi Center, using the money to buy a shirt from a scalper for A. Boyz II Men opened and they were really good (and did some random Lenny Kravitz cover songs), Paula Abdul was a no-show and the Kids were fantastic. We had an absolute blast!
We didn't get out until after 10:30, and with our 20 minute walk to the car it was almost midnight before we got home. Worth it!
Sunday (15,898) - 5 am came very early!! We met up with Maureen in Lakewood and then drove up the canyon to volunteer at the Roost aid station for Revel. We were stationed at mile 19 of the marathon and got to see lots of people we knew.

This race had the most organized aid station pick up I've ever seen. The marathon has a very tight 5:40 cutoff and to keep on pace they said that we would be done at 10:15. Not kidding, moving vans were throwing the tables in the trucks at 10:15 on the dot. We drove down to the finish line, getting some pizza and pie. There was no beer left (sad face), so a few of us went to the Holliday Inn in Morrison for a beer.

Around 2:15 A and I headed up to Boulder for our second volunteering gig of the day - Ironman Boulder. We have volunteered at this event every year and it's actually one of my favorites. We found street parking pretty close and then went to the info tent to say hi to Jeannene before going to our aid station. Apparently since we were last at the run aid station 5, it had moved down the path and we had to move quickly to get there by 4:00. It was a very well run aid station - A handed out cups of ice and I handed out water.

We were at our post until 8, at which point we headed back to the info tent to say goodbye to Jeannene. On our way home we stopped at the Cheesecake Factory. We had gotten enough free food at the race that I didn't have to make dinner. In bed pretty early as we were exhausted from the weekend.
Monday (13,709) - A had ENOR camp again, which was messing with my schedule. Drop off was 7:30 and they would not check her in a minute before that. I picked her up as late as possible after I got off work and then we had to go to State Farm so I could turn over the title for salvage. Sad that it was going to be our last day with Bee Rad!
A and I had tickets for a free movie at Alamo Drafthouse, so we went to see Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales - and it was fantastic! Such a good movie! Went home, took Bee Rad's plates off (sad face).

  • 137,253 steps
  • 16.9 miles run
  • 2 barre classes

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Week in Review (May 30 - June 5)

Tuesday (14,701 steps) - Barre.
Wednesday (15,774 steps) - Special run club at Coohill's! Since I was "tapering," I only had two miles on schedule. Heather and I ran together on the Cherry Creek trail and A ran with Mo and Colfax.

Like usual, the food was fantastic!
Thursday (20,272 steps) - Barre. Had to drive into Golden to Runner's High to pick up my bib for the Dirty 30, so we were late to run club. Mo waited for us and we walked the big loop (with a small detour to cut it a littler shorter).
Friday (12,808 steps) - Nothing.
Saturday (79,303 steps) - Dirty 30. A and I went to Yogurtland and picked up a pizza. I was impressed that I managed to make it until it was dark outside before I went to bed.
Sunday (10,796 steps) - Up early for the RMRR June trophy series! A was running the 4k and I was volunteering at the finish line. A ran a very strong race and got a blue ribbon! A fun race that had pancakes at the end.
Runners Roost team picture

Ribbon winners!
We drove over to the Alamo Draft House for the 2nd Annual Hardrock Film Festival! I was surprised that the turnout was so low, but I guess people are out running or brunching at 10 am. The best part of the day was that I won one of the grand prize raffles - a pair of Hoka trail shoes! I'll try some on this week before I decide on a pair.

Monday (14,431 steps) - Nada.

  • 168,085 steps
  • 33.6 miles "run"
  • 2 barre classes

Dirty 30 50k (Race Recap)

Golden, CO
Saturday, June 3
Ultra Marathon #23
Weather - perfect!

The Dirty 30 is one race I had never done because it always seemed to conflict with something else. Back in February I decided to make this my "A" spring race. And then the same thing happened that seems to happen every single time I have a goal race. I didn't properly train and the weather was shit in the month leading up to it.

Unlike my last "A" race, Lean Horse, I wasn't injured going into it. But with 11 months of anti-treadmill running under my belt, a super chaotic schedule, new job, etc., I simply did not get in the proper training. I didn't get in any really long runs (I think I maxed out at 18 miles... but that was two months before the race) and I *certainly* didn't get my trail running in. With all the moisture (both rain and snow), I think I only hit the trails 2-3 times ALL TRAINING CYCLE.

So it should come as no surprise that I pretty much fell apart during this race... but let's rewind.

About two weeks prior to the race I figured I should start planning my race day. That's when I realized that in order to do the early start I would need to carpool - WITH AT LEAST TWO OTHER RUNNERS. Awkward, since I didn't know of two other idiots like me that were running the 50k - all my friends were running the 12 miler. Luckily, there was a ride share link and I managed to connect with some runners that allowed me to tag along. Also a stipulation for doing the early start was picking up my bib in Golden on a week day, which I managed to do the Thursday before the race. Phew.
Race Day

The plan was to meet at Amy's house in Golden at 4:30 in the morning. I unfortunately woke up before my alarm went off (at 2:57) and opted to not go back to sleep. Turns out the extra time was helpful. 1). I forgot my purse and had to go back to get it and 2). the on ramp for the highway was closed, so I had to take more side streets than expected. I still arrive at Amy's house a few minutes early. Jesse and his girlfriend, Brit, arrived a minute later and we loaded up all our gear. I tried to offer them gas money and they wouldn't take it.

I was very glad someone else was driving, as it was dark, there is no cell phone service once you enter the canyon and I had NO idea where we were going. (I'll refer to my lack of reading information more than once in this post).

We were parked with a little less than an hour until the start. Used the bathroom a few times, and then with maybe 15 minutes to go we headed down the hill to the start line (where I used the bathroom at least two more times). Amy, Brit and I were all doing the early start, but Jesse wasn't, so he offered to take my coat back to the car with him. (Seriously, these guys were the best random strangers!)
Listened to the last minute race instructions (follow the pink flags), and at 6:01, we were off. We headed up the road to the trail head and then the first of many MANY walking segments began. We bottle-necked a bit here as we were quickly thrust into single track. Sadly, only a few days later, I can barely remember anything about the course itself.

I recognized the early sections of the course as being the same as the Black Hawk half from last summer. Lots of green, and we got to run beside the creek. We hit the first aid station around 5 miles in. I took only a cup of coke and kept going.

And this is where memory fails me. All I can seem to remember is that the course was either up or down, there did not seem to be any inbetween. Since I haven't mentioned it yet, the scariest part of the race is the amount of climbing. We were supposed to climb over 7,200' over the course of 32ish miles. Holy crap.

Somewhere around mile 8, just before all the elite males ran by me (remember they started an hour later)

I can't remember the difference between the second and third aid station, other than I knew there was climbing right out of the gate after the third one. And that's pretty much when the race really started to fall apart for me.
One of my teammates captured this as I was coming into an aid station
I felt pretty good the first 15 or so miles, you know, because I was adequately trained for that kind of distance. And then shit got real hard, real fast. As I've mentioned before, I'm a terrible climber. And there was a LOT of climbing. And for me, not the kind of climbing where I just keep hiking and plugging along. It was steep and it was unrelenting. I had been keeping a pretty steady pace for a while and then I just kept getting passed. I saw my teammate Kaitlyn a few times on the course, she ended up running in 7ish hours and looked awesome on the climbs. Meanwhile, I'm wondering what superhero gene these people have that give them the ability to run up these hills I can barely walk up.

The trail also got exceedingly more technical. There was a section where we had to climb over boulders, and then, when the climbing FINALLY stopped, it also became ROCKY. Where I lack in my ability to climb hills, I'm normally able to compensate with bombing the downhills. Unfortunately, my quads were like liquid lava. They were shaky and hot and exhausted. I cautiously tried to run down, only to roll my ankle on a loose rock. Not what I want to happen going into peak trail running season! I made the decision to take it easy on the downhills, which really hurt my overall place, but at least I wasn't going to hurt myself.
And the sky was ominous...
As the afternoon wore on, the sky started to look scary. Sure enough, we were heading into aid station 4 when it started to rain. And then it POURED. Turns out, my windbreaker is just that, a windbreaker. I was completely soaked within a minute or two. The temperature dropped quite a bit and I grew concerned that if the storm got worse that they could cancel the race and pull us of course - we still had not climbed Windy Peak!

I was ecstatic to see Terry and Ben volunteering as course marshals! I had been in a dark place and it was so awesome seeing some friendly faces. As I headed down (WHY ARE WE GOING DOWN JUST TO START CLIMBING AGAIN??) I was thinking, shit. I'm going to be coming back up this way in a bit.
My jacket is NOT a rain jacket...

In a bit... I'm hilarious. At mile 25 of this race, we had to climb Windy Peak, which is something like 1800' of climbing in just a couple miles. I thought I suffered in the early climbing? No. This was like nothing else I've climbed, with maybe the exception of a 14er, but maybe with a bit more air. All of the runners I had been able to stave off were passing me as I was pulling over to breathe and will my stupid noodle legs to continue. I was struggling to maintain something like a 30 minute mile pace. I was now worried about cutoffs that should not have been a concern, ESPECIALLY with an early start. Yet here I was.

Finally I saw Brit on her way down - she looked fantastic and was in good spirits. And then finally finally FINALLY, made it to the summit. My bib was marked and scanned, and then headed back down. I again ran into the same issue with the trail being a bit too technical to really run down (lots of tree roots and rocks), but at least I could breathe, and at least my legs were functioning.

The hill to get back to Terry and Ben that I was dreading THANKFULLY didn't seem long or terrible. (I mean, it wasn't a walk in the park, but not was bad as I thought it would be). Gave Ben a hug and he said it was "mostly downhill" to the finish. Ben is a liar. There was a decent amount of climbing for a half mile or so (although very tame compared to what we had done earlier) and then the last 3/4 or so was rolling and downhill - FINALLY. It was also NOT as technical, so I was able to run this part. I was able to run into the finish, and was really happy to see Alison (who had run the 12 miler) still at the finish line. She got a few pictures of me running in.

Elevation profile... see flat anywhere?

Official results:
Official time - 10:16:49
Overall place - 339/353
Gender place - 101/110
Division place - 44/49

Garmin splits:

I immediately saw Jesse and Brit, and they had brought my bag so I was able to get out of my shoes and into my oofoos. Went to the finish area and got my beer and burger. We headed out shortly after 5 and they drove me back to my car in Golden.

  • This course is not to be taken lightly. I took the early start option because I really *am* back of the pack slow on trails. Had I not taken the early start I would have DNF'd because I would not have finished in the TEN HOUR TIME LIMIT. 
  • There are a ton of spigots and turnoffs on the course. The course was marked exceptionally well. There was only one section (near the bouldering) where I had to look around for the next flag. Granted, I'm slow and walked a lot, so it may have been more of challenge for the faster people.
  • Pretty low-key event. Other than my bib and race shirt, I got nothing. There are no medals or general finisher awards, although I'm sure the winners get something.
  • Post-race festivities were great - beer and burgers.
  • Would I do this again? Probably not... not because it was a bad event, just because it's a little bit "more" than I like to have in a race (difficulty-wise).

East-West Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Saturday, June 10 Highlands Ranch, CO Half Marathon #164 Weather - SUNNIEST AND HOTTEST EVER I started watching the forecast about a...